TIP from FNM: Reproduction (Egg Layers)

Introduction to breeding tropical fish:

  • Live-bearers 
  • Egg layers
  • Mouth brooders

Fish hobbyist tends to want their fish to breed and have offspring. This desire might have come in wanting to accept the challenge of providing the correct environment for a favourite fish. It will require serious planning, time and additional aquariums to do it right. This is the outline of some steps you can take to achieve your goal in breeding your fish. 

Egg Layers

  • First experience with an egg-laying fish is usually the Convict Cichlid, also known as, The "Breeding Cichlid"
  • The first sign that egg laying is imminent will usually be a pile of gravel moved out from behind a rock, and other fish being chased by the breeding pair
  • The female have a bright red belly and is usually smaller than the male. The eggs are laid on a rock and will usually take 3-5 days to hatch.
  • Then the babies will be wrigglers for 1-2 more days.
  • During this time, it is not unusual to see the parents using their mouths to move the fry to a more secure location.
  • After the fry are free swimming, the parents will herd the babies for a few days.
  • Once again, if you want to raise the babies, it is best to remove the rock with the eggs attache to a hatch-out/rearing tank
  • Fill this tank with water from the display aquarium. Do not allow the rock and eggs to be exposed to air during the transfer
  • Encircle it with a bag or plastic container before removing it from the aquarium. You can feed the babies freshly hatched brine shrimp, or standard flakes which have been grounded into powder form

Juliodochromis and Neolamprologous

Egg laying African Cichlids can be set up in a "species tank", Juliodochromis and Neolamprogous species can be placed in tanks providing 20 to 55 gallons (74-205 litre) of water. Fill the tank with mostly rocks to provide the cover and security for the spawning pair. It is best to start with at least 6 fish, allowing them to sort out the pairs. The "odd-man-out males" will usually end up hiding in the corners and is best to get them out of the aquarium.

The breeding pair will select a cave and disappear into it for up to 10-14 days, and suddenly there will be a small cloud of babies. Unlike other Cichlids, these will tolerate the babies and breed again until the tank is full of many generations of fish. So it is advised that you research on your individual species, provide them with their own fry tank, and then sit back and enjoy all of the new offsprings.

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